Posts filed under ‘Blogging’

First World Problems?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Sometimes life seems overwhelming. Too many items on the ‘to-do’ list, too many people needing your attention, too much chaos surrounds you. I would love to say that my life is in order but that would be a bit of a porker..

People think I am organised, they think I am ‘sorted’. Hoot! My house needs decluttered, decorated and generally put into order. My paperwork sits in a box that I occasionally dig through for the MOT certificate, birth certificate, pension statement. The latter one is the most depressing, I think I may be able to retire at 95….

Are we all the same? Drowning in the everyday when we know we should really be trying to make a difference. I read that sentence and agree but at the same time want to slap myself hard. It sounds so much like the dinner party scenes from Bremner, Bird and Fortune. I feel like a middle-class cliché, beating my breast and crying for the poor of the world while I wonder what colour to paint the living room. Perhaps I am that wonderful twitter hashtag game, #FirstWorldProblems? Maybe I should be shouting from the rooftops because my home-made mayo has curdled?

I am making fun of myself somewhat but it does bring me to my real point. This blog isn’t about me but it comes from my thoughts and hopes. I hope people out there can still afford to help others, have time to think about others. With all the concerns about the economy, job security, horsemeat burgers, can people see beyond the concerns that are beating down their doors? Am I a first-world problem cliché or will you consider donating to a charity that supports children? I do hope the latter…..

In the meantime,  I will continue to distract myself from a house that needs painting and paperwork that needs filing. I will blog, I will tweet twaddle and I will knit. When words fail me, as they sometimes do, then knitting will relax me. The latest offering is six foot long, a scarf  requested by my daughter. Enjoyed doing it but soooo glad it is finished:)

Scarf

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading,

Lesley

February 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

It is the Little Things….

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I haven’t been here for a while. I should perhaps apologise but can only say that I lost my words for a while. Hard to lose your words, you know you should be writing but the letters will only float about in your head, they won’t come together to make anything coherent. Feeling like that I thought it best to be quiet, I write enough nonsense to know when to leave well alone.

But now it is the New Year, all hail 2013. I am feeling better, more refreshed and ready for what is out there. Have you made your resolutions? I have done the usual healthy eating promise to myself. You know the one don’t you? Eat less, move more is the mantra:) I have my low-fat dinner prepared and am enjoying the new exercise regime. When you get to my age walking isn’t enough, you need to get a bit more vigour into your life and so it’s me and Davina. I don’t plug on here but promise that the new Davina workout is good and I am enjoying it even if my stomach muscles are off sobbing in the corner.

Beyond that, what do I want from 2013? World Peace? Unfortunately, I think chances of that are slim. While we have people who know they are right and everyone else is wrong then compromise will never be part of the picture. Watching the news about my own country proves that to be so. (I am considering a blog about what we are going through at the minute but it will take time and effort so will be one you have to wait for, at least for now).

So, should we have an end to hunger? Please Sir, let them have more? Another one on my big list. Alas, again I think we aren’t going to solve this one in 2013. And again, doesn’t it come down to mankind? Politics, power, greed drives so much pain in this world and my feeling is that curing this will cure hunger, disease and poverty. Pity the big pharmaceuticals can’t make a pill to cure that.

What then are we left with? We are left looking at ourselves in the mirror. Take a long hard look folks. Are you happy with what you see? I’ll wager we all struggle with that long hard look, I know I do. How do we make ourselves feel better? I think it is simple. Do something that isn’t for you. Do something to make someone else smile or their life just a little better. I have read reviews of the new book by Lucy Mangan and how she worked through 2012 by doing one good deed a day. Lovely idea and a great book so why don’t we all take a leaf from Lucy’s book. Stick a pound in a collection box, visit an elderly neighbour, volunteer. These can all be done with only a little of your time or money. Perhaps that is what we should all aim for this 2013. Do the little things and hopefully they will start to impact the big…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading,

Lesley

January 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I am in a quandary. I have been mulling a long time about writing something more substantial. I could say time and energy are against me with a demanding but satisfying job and a busy life. However, there are words in my head and I want to try and get them on paper/keyboard.

I did start writing a children’s story a while back and showed a few chapters on the blog – Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three. I know what I want to write and I know the Chapters I added into the blog need work. I have started on this but we are in the early stages.

The question is what to do? Approach a publisher? I know that most publishers are very risk-averse these days, book sales are dropping and new writers are finding it harder than ever to be signed up. This naturally brings me to the dreaded phrase in social media – self publishing 🙂

I don’t want to be the scourge of social media *weeps quietly* but I do have a inkling how this could be a good thing. If I go for self-publishing then I can make sure that at least 50% of any profits go to children’s charities. When I consider how much time I spend nagging folk to donate to charity then isn’t it time I put my money where my words are? Yes, I donate regularly, both monthly and by never passing a collection box, sponsoring etc. However, if I can raise money with my words then I am putting myself out there.

I will still blog, will still nag you all but there will be time spent on putting this book together and seeing where I go. Even if I only raise a few pounds then at least I have tried. I will use Facebook, Twitter, even Linkedin and Google+ to publicise and we will see where we go.

Why post about this today? Simples. I work better when I give myself a deadline. If I say out here that I am going to write then the pressure is on and a little self-imposed stress can be good for one:) I will update periodically on progress but my initial deadline to me if to have it completed by next summer. Research is needed as well as re-writes and more chapters so this should be enough time to spend my weekends on this. Wish me luck folks, I most definitely need it.

Think of me looking like this!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading,

Lesley

October 26, 2012 at 9:56 am 2 comments

Rambling, Ranting and a bit of Sport Relief.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Pre-read warning, this post has a few tangents. Please stick with it, I will have a point, promise…..

I watched most of the BBC’s Sport Relief programme on Friday night. I smiled, laughed and cried in the same measure. I donated, of course I did, I can’t really blog about giving without taking action myself. It was always my intention to donate but I do leave it until near the end every time, perhaps to focus on the watching first, I am not altogether sure.

One  thing that struck me as painful was a new slant I see on programmes of this type. In years gone by there were segments where we we would see a child near death through starvation, pneumonia or malaria. Through the ‘power of television’ we would then see the same child a couple of days/weeks later; they would be on the mend and a smiling presenter would tell us how our donations had made a direct impact on this child’s life.

The same thing happened when we were presented with the children living on streets, working from the age of two to help support their families with no hope of education or a change in circumstances. The next ‘cut to camera’ shot would be those children smiling in classrooms learning their way out of poverty with their families benefiting from some small sum to enable this. Cue happy smiles all around. Our guilt assuaged, we were able to smile too and move on.

Now? The ‘fluffy’ picture has gone. We see the sad and ill children but we do not cut to them getting an education or getting better.  We see other children benefiting from the classroom and other children starting to heal. The children working on rubbish dumps or making bricks were left there to work themselves quite literally to the bone. As for the children who were ill, we were shown shots of resustitation. Frantic efforts made by staff who saw too much death, they brought some children back from the brink but only temporarily. It was a powerful picture, the face of a devastated and exhausted health worker with a glimpse of the body of a small dead child. It was harsh to watch, we moved from the laboured breathing to no breath at all. I cried. I am sure many people cried. However, my tears do no good in this situation, I just hope my money does make a difference to some other mother’s child, I couldn’t help the mothers of those children we saw.

I know why they have moved away from the ‘cute’ shots. Society is ever-changing, the power of the internet means that we can see almost anything we want. Depends what we want to see. I have no desire to see an execution, no desire to see a child die. Are we now so jaded by multi-media that this needs to be the case? The celebrities are still there, they still cry too. Many people feel this is a poor use of celebrity (notoriety even?), that these are crocdile tears furthering a career and not a cause. I disagree to a large extent but have one comment. I don’t need to see a celebrity doing this to make me want to give, a reporter can have the same impact for me. But then we get to my next point –  are there some who enjoy seeing the celebs sadness watching the harsh lives or deaths of others? I would really hate to believe that, if that is how people think then we are in a sorry state as a race, the human race. For myself, it can be reporters, it can be celebrities, they all bring attention to the cause and that is what must be important.

So now, a not so smooth segue to words, specifically the words in the media. There is a link to the rest of this post, I will get to it. A young Welshman was jailed today for posting racist tweets about the footballer Patrice Muamba after he collapsed on the field of play last week. When challenged by other Twitter users he compounded his previous utterances.

I disagree with what he said, this doesn’t go without saying because it needs to be said again and again. I will add though that in my opinion he was drunk and stupid. And here is my point – my warning about social media. In the days before Facebook, Twitter and all those other sites you would be with friends. When you are drunk and stupid with friends they tell you to ‘wind your neck in’ (that is what they would tell you in Northern Ireland anyway) and you would stop. If you carried on, your mates would take you home and leave you there until you sobered up and apologised to them. You do not get the chance to be sorted out so quickly on social media. Your words are out there and all it takes is a couple of retweets or shares and millions will see your crass stupidity. Those millions will screen-scrape and save that stupidity and it will get reposted out there, you can never forget it.

The court case has made some cheer and some frown. There is much debate about the difference between free speech and incitement. I would like to think this young man was not trying to incite hatred but his words were racist and that is against the law. If his words have allowed someone else to justify their bigoted ways then damage has been done.  He will have to live with his actions for a long long time.The horrible truth is that there are many people who post this kind of drivel every day but they do not catch the attention of enough people. I make no excuses for this young man or anyone else, I only know I would never want to cause offense to others with my tweets. Even live phone-ins have a slight delay so that we can filter what goes out on the airwaves. I know the point of social media is not to censor but wouldn’t it be helpful if they had an ‘Are you Sure You Want to Make a Complete Eejit of Yourself’ button that stupidity wouldn’t get out there so easily?

Please do not think I make light of either topic here but I will close with one last point. Would all social media users like to focus their words on changing this world to be a more caring and careful place? Can we have one day where you post only about how you can help one person? Why don’t we have a #changethisworld hashtag, is it too much fun to challenge?

I leave you with the BBC Sport relief website in case you want to check it for yourself – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sportrelief/

Thank You BBC and Sport Relief!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

March 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

Good Days, Bad Days……

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Not a grumpy post but a grumpy day. I have recently blogged about lots going on and that is still true. I have had some long days and am tired. Changes are planned which I hope will give me more time to help some people in my life and I look forward to having that time. In the meantime I will charge about doing what I can to keep all the balls in the air. I don’t want sympathy, I just want to get everything organised so I will feel more in control. Anal eh? 🙂

I try not to get stressed on a day-to-day basis, I am more of a deep breath and move on kind of person. It isn’t so much stoicism as knowing what needs done, putting your head down and getting on with it. When faced with a mountain of things to do I like to ignore the mountain and just take one boulder chip and deal with it. There are times, however, when the mountain looms over you and you sit it its shadow wondering if it would be easier to simply walk away and ignore all of it. You wonder about it but instead you knuckle down and get on with it. I will have less of that self pity!

How do I get out of a funk like this? This may sound slightly weird but I am weird. Here goes……

How I move on is easy. This is not counting my blessings, this is taking a long, hard look at me and telling myself what I know to be true:-

  • I have a comfortable home
  • I am fortunate to have a good job
  • I have three healthy children (who drive me nuts but you cannot expect perfection)
  • I have enough food on my table
  • I have heat when I need it
  • I have water on tap
  • I have friends to call on in difficult times. They will listen to my babble and comfort me when I need it
  • I know who I am
  • I do not live in fear
  • I am loved

So many people do not have this. So many children will not have a future like this. This I consider every day and it makes my heart break. When I look at me this way how can one virtual mountain scare me?

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

March 1, 2012 at 12:14 am 2 comments

Having It All?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Chop, chop, busy, busy, work, work, bang, bang. Anyone remember the BT advert with industrious penguins of many years ago? Sometimes life feels like this, I’m sure many of you feel the same.

I am going through a busy time at the moment and am planning changes to my work patterns. I have good reason for doing this, I will get some time during the day to assist family members. It is a conscious decision made after much mulling and wondering how to fit everything in. I have been puzzling how I can do it all for some time now and I hope this will be the answer, many thanks are also due to those at my work who have helped facilitate this.

As I  have been putting the wheels in motion for the change I have been thinking about this ‘having it all’ I keep hearing about. I have worked pretty much all my adult life and for this I am grateful. I have had periods of unemployment in my youth and found it intensely frustrating, mainly due to the lack of funds due to lack of job. I like working, like to use my brain. There are many who would find my job uninspiring as it is a management role but dealing with people and situations is meat and drink to me.

I have talked before about being a working mother. The term would be more loosely applied now as all my children are grown. However, while I still have offspring in the house this still seems (slightly?) appropriate. I will miss it when they are all gone so do try to cherish this time. Well, most of the time…….. *Warning, ranty bit starts now*….

Who said we had to have it all? I want to know as I am very tempted to question their sanity. Did the creator of this cliché know what trouble they would cause? Do they know how many working parents are cream-crackered at any given point of the day?

I have ‘had it all’ for all my adult life. I have cooked, cleaned, ironed and worked my way through the last thirty-odd years. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do all this and I would not change the children I adore and the work I do. Everyone has things they would like to change or have more control over, I am no different. However, I am not a great believer in regrets, the things I have done in life I have chosen positively and that is all I can ask of myself.

One thing I could do without. Housework. I do it, am even good at it but it was, is and will always be a chore. I know there are people out there who enjoy it. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD WHY? Why would you like spraying and scrubbing and polishing and mopping and vacuuming and all the rest of it? I just don’t get it. I do love the end result and yes, admit to a sense of satisfaction when it is all done and I sit down with a cuppa in a sparkling house. That feeling is fleeting however; between untidy kids and two dogs who live to traipse muck across floors the tidy is a temporary blip. My favourite quote on housework would never be from the original Superwoman, Shirley Conran, it would always be from that wise woman Phylis Diller – Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?

There is one thing I would like to have just for me. Quiet time. I do get this from blogging if that doesn’t sound strange; me and my thoughts tapping the keys. And therein lies my cure for the housework blues. When I blog I am thinking about those who have much more to struggle against than me. This kicks my lazy bum back to reality. My life may be busy but I am fortunate in many ways and should not lose sight of that….

So, I will continue to use this with a very sour face but will remember to count my blessings too.

Take it Away!!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

February 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

Bile, Invective, Vitriol.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page and read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I  have been reading random blogs over the last couple of weeks. Most of them have been educational, people wanting to share their knowledge on cooking, knitting, books, films, any topic of interest. I also read many funny posts, there are so many smart and witty people out there. Then I moved to more ‘opinionated’ posts and they have a different nature altogether…..

The thing about bloggers is that they have no filter except themselves. No sub-editor will check the words to ensure that there is nothing libellous or offensive therein. The words are written, they may be proof-read by the writer. Then they are sent out there, one person’s opinion into that cyber-void.

This is a good thing and a bad thing. The good? Blogging is a personal thing, it is one person sending their opinions and knowledge out there for all to see. It encourages people to be creative, develop their writing skills and share something with all those who choose to read. The bad? It is one person’s opinion without check. If an individual chooses to lie they can. I don’t suggest for a second that many bloggers do this; I think most people who choose words as their medium are very consious of the joys and danger of doing this. However, everyone’s perspective is different. They say that six witnesses to a crime can provide six different descriptions of a suspect. Isn’t it just the same with opinion? Two people will see a situation in very different ways. I think we only need look at the reactions of politicians to, for instance, the cost of education, to understand that is possible. Just read the comments sections of some of the popular political blogs and this will be perfectly illustrated.

This is the way of the virtual world and I accept that. We can’t plunge into the water and not expect some sharks to circle. What concerns me is how easily it can turn, how it can become personal. I have written before about the power of words; I am fascinated by the skill of those who can put words together to capture our interest and even our hearts. What I don’t enjoy is the attack-blog as I tend to think of them. They can come from a need to defend against words already out there from another individual. I understand the need to defend one’s position and portray a balance, this is only fair isn’t it? Yes ‘but’ is my answer. The style becomes crucial when taking this action. Surely words are more effective when calmly and factually put? Reason will persuade more than rant I think. When bloggers react to the emotional words of one person with more emotional words it will easily spiral into tit-for-tat. I don’t think that is how most bloggers want to see themselves. Bloggers write because they want readers, fact. For me this means there is an inherent responsibility associated with blogging. If you blog you want to influence, isn’t it your responsibility to make sure this influence is used in a benign way? Persuade by all means but persuade truthfully and without attack on those who don’t share your opinion.

I am not saying that blogs should be cold and emotionless, that would make the blogsphere a very dull and uninteresting place. I want to see love and anger coming out from the words I read. I love getting goosebumps from reading words that come from the heart, this makes me smile. What I will never enjoy is the name-calling and singular perspective that one person is always right and another wrong, the world is shades of grey…….

I close, as always, with this:-
  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

February 5, 2012 at 10:56 am Leave a comment

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